Satisfactory Conclusion to the Google Affair

And we’re done. My books will be removed from the Google library, and I’m satisfied with that.

There is no legitimate reason to have the full texts of works still in print and in copyright available online when corporations will profit but the work creators will not.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m a big fan of the free library concept — I donated the full texts of two of my very early and now out-of-print novels, Fire in the Mist and Sympathy for the Devil, to the Baen Free Library, and even though I’m not still with Baen, I believe this has been and continues to be a good and worthwhile project — for me, certainly, and probably for Baen as well.

The differences being having my books in Baen’s Free Library and having my books in Google’s “Free Library” were that:

A) I personally offered to have those works included in the Baen library — I selected those particular works out of my list of Baen-published books, I gave permission for them to be there, and they are still there because I want them there.

B) The books I chose are specifically out-of-print works that I have not yet resold; when or if I do resell the rights on them, I may be required to ask that they be removed from the free library. But in the meantime, I have made them available for readers who want to read them.

C) No mega-billion-dollar corporation is using my work to sell its own advertising without remunerating me. Baen may get a few sales of other books in his lineup because my books are there, but I’m okay with that. I like Jim Baen, even if at the moment he isn’t too crazy about me. And I may get a few sales from having the books there, too. If I can help out Baen and Baen can help me out, and we’ve both agreed to the terms, that’s as good as the deal needs to be.

D) Baen and I actually had a contract. My books’ presence there are under my agreement to use certain already-contracted and paid-for rights in a certain way for which I would not be paid. But neither would Baen.

Might I have gotten sales from having my books up on Google? Maybe. Would people have sat there reading through all 230,000 words of Talyn on their computer screens, thus robbing me of future sales? In most cases, probably not.

Did anybody, anywhere along the way, ask me if I wanted to have the majority of my in-print work published in that fashion, or did anyone pay reprint rights for all those books’ publication as Google Books (for in reprinting the whole texts of these books, Google has become a reprint publisher, but has not bought reprint rights).

No.

Would Google publication of my books, by which it would profit, put money into my bank acount — or into the bank accounts of any of the authors whose works have been so appropriated?

Not for a minute.

Money will be made — and a lot of it, or Google wouldn’t bother doing the project. Will the authors off of whose works Google is profiting share in that money? Not a penny.

If we’re all volunteering a ham-and-egg breakfast, the pig fessing up the ham has to BE a volunteer, dammit. If you plan on selling ham-and-egg breakfasts, on the other hand, you’d best be prepared to pay me for my bacon.

(And for those interested, Tor had no clue that Holtzbrink had used its catalog of books in this manner.)


On Friday, November 11, 2005, at 10:07 AM, Laura Driussi wrote:

Dear Ms. Lisle,

I’m sorry I’m not being clear. People can see 5 pages at a time, and
up to 20% of the pages, *because* your book was provided by the
publisher. If it had been scanned *without* the permission of the
publisher, people would only see the little bits of pages.

_Memory of Fire_, for example, is 384 pages long. It may seem that you were able to view all the pages, but in fact if you keep clicking the pages, we will stop you after you’ve seen 76 of the pages. For which book did you see more than 100 pages? I’d definitely like to try it out for myself, because unless the book is over 500 pages long, we should certainly have stopped you before then.

Although your contact at Tor may not have known about it, we have an agreement with them, via Holtzbrinck, for the publisher program. _Talyn_ arrived here from Holtzbrinck in August of this year. I’d be happy to put your contact person at Tor in touch with our contact person at Holtzbrinck to clear up any confusion.

As I said, we will soon be removing your books from the program. I just want it to be clear that there are two parts to Google Print, the permission-based publisher program and the library project, and your books are in the program because of the former, not the latter.

Best,

Laura


On 11/12/05, Holly Lisle wrote:

Dear Ms. Druissi,

Perhaps I wasn’t clear. As _copyright owner_ of all my novels, I opted out of your program, demanding that all my books be removed immediately.

It appears your “opt out” program is mere lip service that your company employs while looking for someone to tell it that it doesn’t have to remove works if the owners tell you to.

Holly Lisle


On Tuesday, November 15, 2005, at 07:43 PM, Laura Driussi wrote:

Dear Ms. Lisle,

No, you were perfectly clear. We are removing your books. I’m sorry it’s taken a little longer than I expected. I’ll let you know when the books are no longer in Google Print.

The reason I was confused is that the “opt out” process is to prevent books from being scanned at libraries, not to prevent books from being submitted by publishers. It is by no means just “lip service.”

Best,

Laura

From: Holly Lisle
Date: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:50:00 AM US/Eastern
To: Laura Driussi
Cc: Robin Rue
Subject: Re: [C#37680622] Opting out and getting my books OUT of your database

Dear Ms. Druissi,

Thank you.

I’m pleased to know that they will be removed.

Holly Lisle


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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.